“Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.” –Psalm 7:8b
I don’t know how those words struck you just now, but my mouth went slack-jawed at David’s boldness. I wouldn’t dare to pray such a prayer because I know the darkness of my heart. And while I believe that David was merely trying to convey that he was innocent in the certain situation that plagued him, I still found that his words haunted me.
A friend of mine once told me: “Compared to Jesus, we’re like a bunch of filthy rats in a gutter.” That’s what this verse makes me feel like – a filthy rat. Which is why I marvel at the words David penned. My prayer would look a little more like this: “Judge me, O Lord, according to Your love, according to Your unfathomable mercy, O Most High.”
See, if God were to judge me by my own righteousness, I would be cast out of the Kingdom. And I’m what most people would consider a good person. But God says that our righteous acts are like filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6).
Our lives would be absolutely hopeless if it weren’t for the remarkable fact that God doesn’t judge us according to our righteousness; He judges us according to His great love. While we were still playing around in the gutter, God sent His Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
I think those of us who’ve been in the family of God for awhile tend to take His love for granted. We forget what a miracle it is that God would choose to love us. Once we clean up our acts and begin to walk an upright life, we tend to judge ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people, rather than our holy God. We think to ourselves, “Well, at least I’m better than so-and-so.” But the truth is that we can’t earn our way to heaven by doing good works because there is no good that is good enough for God. We’re just like a filthy gutter rat, completely undeserving of the King’s love and acceptance. And the miracle of the matter is that He loves us anyway.
So instead of focusing on your own righteousness, reflect on the marvelous wonder of God’s love. Thank Him for His sacrifice that freed you to be judged by love instead of deeds, and remember that it’s only by His mercy that there is anything remotely righteous in you at all.